Trial over elimination of judicial primaries set for June

A trial over whether or not lawmakers have the constitutional authority to eliminate judicial primary elections is scheduled to take place a little over a week before judicial candidate filing.

The defendants in the case, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore and the state of North Carolina, filed a joint motion earlier this week to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the North Carolina Democratic Party.

“A court ‘cannot, in the name of the Constitution, overturn duly enacted statutes simply ‘because they may be unwise, improvident, or out of harmony with a particular school of thought,'” the motion states. “Rather, ‘when an issue involves policy choices as sensitive as those implicated [here] …, the appropriate forum for their resolution in a democracy is the legislature.'”

Lawmakers voted in December to cancel the 2018 judicial primary elections to allow more time to study judicial redistricting and reform. You can read more about the full legal arguments in the case here.

Judge Catherine Eagles reinstated appellate judicial primaries in the form of a preliminary injunction, but the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned her decision and again cancelled the primaries.

A trial in the case has been set for June 7 at the U.S. District Court house in Greensboro. Eagles will preside. Candidate filing for judicial offices runs from June 18-29, according to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

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